August 6, 2015

Summer Beach Reads 2015

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Hey y’all! I just posted a new video to my YouTube channel!

I filmed this back in July when my family went to the beach. With school starting back up again soon I’m really missing the sand and the sun and how perfect that weekend was, especially because it meant lots of time for reading. These are some of the books I took with me and that I think are perfect pool/beach books.

What books do you like to read at the beach? Let me know :)

Thanks for reading!

Love always,

Lauren

August 5, 2015

Favorite Book Covers

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I am the type of person who gets really excited when I finish a great book and feel like I need to share its amazing-ness with the world. However, I never really had any close friends who were as enthusiastic about reading as I was when I was growing up. They would listen politely as I talked about this book I thought they would enjoy, only for them to reply with, “Sounds interesting” or “That’s nice” without another thought.

One of my best friends has been a great book buddy. We have the same tastes and would share books and discuss the things we liked in each one back in our high school days.

While I love that bond, I wanted to talk with more people about the novels I was reading, the worlds I was exploring, and hopefully learn of stories that would become new favorites.

Then last April I stumbled across this wonderful little community that I didn’t know existed on the Internet.

That community was BookTube.

Here were people sharing their opinions on books and getting all hyped up over their respective fandoms. And something told me to give it a shot.

I did try to film a video back during Labor Day weekend last year (which was forever ago), but I got so nervous and camera shy that I put it to the side.

I’ve figured, “Okay, it’s a new year, time to give this another shot.”

So while I work on overcoming the camera shyness, here’s a quick little video of some of my favorite covers. I’m curious to know what your favorites are so please share them in the comments either here or in the comments on the video :)

 

 

Love always,
Lauren

August 5, 2015

All the Emotions

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So I recently finished my final edit of my first book (at least until I send it to an actual editor who will tell me whether it sucks or not). I am currently a mess of emotions. Excited. Relieved. And a little worried.

When I started this book, it wasn’t like all the other stories I had started before. This one really pulled me in. It was like the characters were real and that I was actually with them, following them around, hearing all their jokes, experiencing the events of the book with them. Especially with my main character. She spoke to me so clearly that it’s hard to imagine her not being a real person with real problems that needed to be fixed.

I have plenty of other ideas. In fact I’m working on my second book now (not a sequel, but features a few of the characters mentioned in Book One). But I wonder if I will ever feel like that again, have my entire world wrapped up in a character, a setting, a story…or is this a one-time thing?

I really hope not. Because that feeling was amazing. To be swept up in a world, to actually interact with the characters, see the things they were seeing, feel the things they were feeling…it’s addicting.

Are there any other writers out there who feel that way? I know there must be.

If you are writer (whether it be published, fan fiction, or for your own enjoyment) and have felt something similar, please leave a comment below. I would love to talk about it with you.

Have a great week, lovelies!

 

July 27, 2015

Band Geek Book Recommendations

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Music is a big part of my life. I started playing clarinet when I was ten years old all the way until my second year of college. You can’t spend nearly a decade of your life doing something without it affecting you, especially when six of those years were dedicated to marching band, the most nerdy and intense activity on the planet.

Music is also what led me to meet my best friends in the entire world. This can be said for any group/organization, of course, whether it be drama or lacrosse or what have you, but with music you are connected by something so unbelievably powerful.

Like all band geeks who are/were ever deeply involved within their band program, whether it be marching or concert only, I used to get very excited about all things band related. Even now I sometimes still do. Old habits are hard to break :)

The biggest thing I got excited for was when I stumbled across several marching band themed novels and poetry books targeted for young adults. As band camp is kicking off around this time, I thought today I would share with you a few of the books that I enjoyed back in my high school marching days.

 

Band Geek Love – Josie Bloss

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This is the very first YA marching book I ever saw. The title reached off the shelf and dragged me in.

Band Geek Love follows Ellie Snow, a senior who is the section leader of her band’s trumpet section. She is also a soloist for the upcoming season. Band is Ellie’s whole life; nothing can distract her from it. That is until a sophomore named Connor transfers to their school and joins Ellie’s section. Ellie fights her growing feelings for Connor to avoid any bad breakups and awkwardness in the section, but is it worth it if the price is denying herself a shot at love?

The sequel, Band Geeked Out, continues Ellie’s story and shows her struggles with deciding if she should go to the university close to home and study music, or go off and explore new things.

 

Notes from an Accidental Band Geek – Erin Dionne

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Elsie Wyatt was born to be a French horn player, just like her father and her grandfather. Wanting to one day be as great a player as her father, Elsie wants to attend a prestigious summer music camp, but in order to qualify she must broadened her musical repitore and join her school’s marching band. Elsie’s journey is not easy; she struggles with making friends, learning to play a mellophone, and not tripping over her feet, but as the season goes on she learns to have a bit of fun, and begins to wonder she should focus on being another family legacy or simply be Elise.

 

 

 

 

majorcrushMajor Crush – Jennifer Echols
Ex-majorette and pageant princess Virginia Sauter gets rid of the glitter and auditions to be drum major of her high school marching band. She wins the slot, but has to share with Drew, a boy whose family has held the drum major position for generations. The two do not see eye-to-eye about anything, but as they start to spend more and more time together, they realize that maybe they share more than just the title of drum major.

A friend lent this to me a few years ago. I planned to read it as a joke because it sounded super cheesy and hilarious, but it turned out to actually be pretty good once you get past the description.

*This particular book is no longer in print, but you can get it as an eBook.

 

The Secret Life of a Teenage Siren – Wendy Toliver
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Roxy desperately wishes she could get the cute guys in school to notice her, but being a band geek isn’t exactly the most alluring thing in high school. On her sixteenth birthday, Roxy’s grandmother reveals a secret: she is a siren. With a few notes on her flute, Roxy is able to snag dates with any guy she sets her sights on. But there are two rules if she wants to remain a siren: don’t tell anyone the secret and don’t fall in love. Keeping the secret is simple, but can Roxy really stop herself from falling in love?

 

 

 

Band Nerd series – DJ Corchin and Dan Dougherty

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Get ready for 152 pages of marching band stereotypes and general geeky goodness summed up in rhyme. DJ Corchin paints a great portrait of what it’s like to be in the band, whether you are in it now or were a member twenty years ago. Any band nerd will love it.

A third book was released in October 2014 entitled Band Nerds Confessions and Confusion, which no doubt contains even more silly anecdotes and quotes of general geekiness.

 

Three more band related books that I personally have not read, but do have on my eReader are Major Pain, Confessions of a Teenage Band Geek, and The Line series, all by Courtney Brandt. I don’t know too much about them apart from Confessions and The Line being about a girl on the drum line. I really want to start these soon as they appear to be quite quick reads that I could knock out in a day or two.

I hope my fellow band geeks enjoy this little list! Even if you were never in band, you should think about picking up one of these, if only to give you a look into what exactly makes band kids so amazing and wonderfully geeky ;)

June 15, 2015

E-Books versus Real Books

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Ah, the age-old discussion of which is better: hard copies or online copies.

Everyone has his or her preference, of course. Some people like having the physical copy to hold and display proudly on their shelf once they have completed it, like it’s a literary trophy. Others like the convenience of having twenty books stored in an online library that you can pull up with the touch of a button and you don’t have to cart around a heavy hardback in your purse.

In the grand scheme of things, I think both are acceptable mediums. I don’t think that eBooks are going to make physical copies obsolete, though there certainly are people out there who think that.

I do personally prefer the physical copy of the book because it looks pretty on my shelf, and there is always something so wonderful about actually turning a page instead of swiping on a screen. Hey, that’s just me.

Also, it’s kind of hard to get the smell of the book from an eReader. That should be the next feature for eReaders: a little euphoria jet that sprays the scent of the paper and the ink.

I never really wanted a Kindle or a Nook when they first came out. I think that if I had been introduced to them at an earlier age I would have saved my money for one or asked it as a big gift for Christmas or my birthday, but by the time they had been released on the market, I was too attached to the physical copies and didn’t see too much of a point. I did get the Kindle app on my phone a few years ago (because it was free) in order to have a few books accessible at all times. You never know when you are going to have some time to kill.

Like I said, I prefer the physical books. However eBooks certainly have their pros.

Obviously, convenience is the big thing. You can pull out your eReader or your phone and pull up a novel no problem whether you are in line at the post office or waiting for a class to start. They are also great when you want to read in the car when it’s dark outside.

My favorite thing about having a Kindle or a Nook is that you can usually access a book that is no longer in print. There have been a few books on my To Be Bought list that were taken off the market, and I wasn’t willing to pay fifty dollars for a 250-page mass market paperback from some independent seller on Amazon. The books in question, though, were available fairly cheap as eBooks so I went ahead and bought them. Would I have rather had the actual paperback? Sure. But for five dollars or less, I have no complaints with having the eBook.

So which do you prefer: Real Books or eBooks? Feel free to let me know in the comments below!

February 28, 2015

Audrey Hepburn

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I, like most of the world, adore Audrey Hepburn. She is one of gorgeous and sophisticated icons that you can’t help, but admire. I recently watched Breakfast at Tiffany’s on Netflix and thought it was really good. I don’t know why I had not seen it before, but it has definitely made a place on my list of favorite movies.

I’ve noticed that Audrey’s name has started popping up in the young adult section of my bookstore, so I picked up two books, and thought I would share my thoughts on them with you.

Oh Yeah Audrey –Tucker Shaw

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At five a.m., a cab pulls up to Tiffany’s on Fifth Avenue dropping off sixteen-year-old Gemma Beasley in full Holly Golightly attire. No one would expect less from the co-founder of popular Tumblr blog, Oh Yeah Audrey. Gemma plans on meeting the other bloggers who share her love of the lovely Audrey. But her plans are suddenly changed when a handsome boy steps in and offers to play tour guide. Gemma is whisked away in a New York adventure.

What grabbed me right off the bat was this cover. I absolutely love it for a couple of different reasons. The first is the color. I absolutely love the Tiffany Blue shade of the dust jacket. (Got to stick with the theme.) The second thing I like is the fact that it is a pop-art-style cover. I don’t see a lot of those kinds of covers, and it’s very eye grabbing.

The set-up of the book was also really cool. The chapters were set up differently, where it told how much time had passed between each event of the day (like Gemma waiting outside Tiffany’s at 5:30 and thinking about her life, then fast-forwarding to her meeting her friends at 6:10 in the morning for breakfast).

The overall story was pretty interesting, There were a LOT of Breakfast at Tiffany’s quotes. At the beginning Gemma says you have to go and watch it to understand everything, but you don’t have to worry about that while reading this. Anytime one of the characters made a comment about the classic movie, there would a little afterthought from Gemma saying “That’s a quote from Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” or an explanation as to what scene it was from. It was nice, but it got a little tedious after the tenth time Gemma had to point this out. I wish the author had been able to mark a quote from the movie without having to constantly repeat these lines over and over again.

The two characters I liked the most were Gemma and Bryan. They had a solid friendship, you could tell. Trina came across to me as the stereotypical kind of mean girl who toes the line between sassiness and rudeness.

Apart from those things, I greatly enjoyed this. The chapters were quick, and Gemma’s strong voice had me captivated with the first sentence. This was a one-sit read (or it would have been if I had not had to go to classes), and I would recommend this to anyone who is looking for a new kind young adult contemporary book.

 

Being Audrey Hepburn – Mitchell Kriegman
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When Jersey-girl Lisbeth is seen wearing the black Givenchy ball gown famously worn by Audrey Hepburn at a gala event, she is mistaken as someone of wealth and sophositication. Lisbeth is suddenly whisked away into the world of the Manhattan elite, hanging out with blue bloods, pop stars, and trust funders. While it’s all fun living it up with the young and privileged, Lisbeth wonders if this is the life she truly wants, and if it’s worth giving up her old life.

I initially liked the story. I thought Lisbeth’s story was interesting enough. It kind of came across like the beginning of a Sarah Dessen novel (minus the Southern beach town). The glamorous events that Lisbeth was attending were nice to read about as well. However, I wasn’t as impress with this novel as I thought I would be.

Unlike Oh Yeah Audrey, where I was flying through the pages and felt a little disappointed when I had to set it down to go to classes, this book didn’t hold my attention. I mean, sure it had its positives, and the first thirty or so pages set up who the main character was and what her life was like, I found myself slowly losing interesting, and was okay with reading a few paragraphs before setting it aside to pick up something else.

It seemed as if the author was trying a little too hard to portray what he thought the average high school/early college-aged girl would act like. This was really made clear to me through all the little winky faces he added to the texts Lisabeth and her friends would send to one another. It made her seem more juvenile than someone who was said to have graduated from high school.

I would have to give this a 2.5 on GoodReads. It really wasn’t the worst novel I have ever read, and it was quite entertaining at some points, but, like I said, it didn’t impress me as much as I thought it would.

 

Have you read either of these books? If so, what were your thoughts on the story and the characters? Let me know in the comments!

 

Love always,

Lauren

January 1, 2015

Most Anticipated Releases of 2015

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2015 is finally upon us, giving us a whole year of new opportunities, new adventures, and, of course, lots of new books, and believe me, there are a lot of goodies coming out this year. These are the ones I am personally looking forward to the most.

 

Fairest: The Lunar Chronicles: Levana’s Story (January 27, 2015)

This is a spin-off novel in The Lunar Chronicles series that documents the untold story of Queen Levana. I love fairy tale retellings, especially those that give a glimpse into the villain’s past. It’s always interesting to see what made a person choose the path they did. I’m so glad this is coming out later in the month because I’m eager to pick it up.

The Selection Stories: The Queen and The Favorite – Kiera Cass (March 3, 2015)

This is the second novella compilation in The Selection Series. The Queen stars a young Queen Amberly as she competes for the hand of the prince. The Favorite follows America Singer’s best friend Marlee who came to palace in hopes of becoming Prince Maxon’s wife, but instead finds herself falling for another. I’m looking forward to these novellas because it’ll give us some other sides of the story that weren’t as detailed in the three main books.

The Wicked Will Rise – Danielle Paige (March 31, 2015)

This is the sequel to Dorothy Must Die, a retelling of The Wizard of Oz that shows the events after Dorothy returns to Oz and how her dictatorial rein over the land leads to destruction. Narrated by Amy Gumm, “the other girl from Kansas,” we will see who is who is good and who is wicked.

Miss Mayhem – Rachel Hawkins (April 7, 2015)

This is the sequel to Rebel Belle, which follows Harper Price, a Southern Belle who becomes a Paladin, an ancient type of guardian with super strength, agility and highly lethal fighting capabilities, and she is charged with protecting David Stark, her least favorite person in the world. Miss Mayhem will continue Harper’s story as she fights to protect David, learn more about her capabilities, and compete in a prestigious pageant (Ya know, typical girl stuff).

Saint Anything – Sarah Dessen (May 5, 2015)

I have a feeling this is going to be one of my favorite summer reads! Sarah Dessen’s books are the perfect poolside companions. This is her twelfth novel, which stars Sydney, a teenager whose world has been shaken up and finds comfort with a family who accept her no matter what. She also meets Mac, a boy who makes Sydney feel like she is finally being seen for who she truly is.

The Heir – Kiera Cass (May 5, 2015)

This new addition to The Selection series follows America’s daughter as she goes through her own selection process.

Royal Wedding: Princess Diaries Volume XI – Meg Cabot (June 2, 2015)

Another summer read I am highly looking forward! Meg Cabot is one of my absolutely favorite authors. Her writing style is very witty and it’s easy to get in the mindset of her characters. I started reading The Princess Diaries series back in 2002 and could not put them down. I was so sad when the final volume of Mia’s diaries was published. I could not contain my excitement when I learned that Meg Cabot was releasing a new story all about Mia’s wedding! It’ll be so nice revisit these characters and see how they have progressed over the past few years.

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Sword of Summer – Rock Riordan (October 6, 2015)

I really enjoyed the Percy Jackson series and am currently working my way through the Heroes of Olympus. Rick Riordan has such a great sense of bringing these characters to life, and incorporating all the different mythological elements. I’m excited to see how he portrays Norse mythology in this new series, and there have been a few rumors that Percy may make an appearance in there somewhere. I don’t really know about that, but I would love to see some mentions of (or a guest appearance by) Thor. Anyway it goes, this is sure to be a promising read.

Winter (The Lunar Chronicles – November 10, 2015)

Winter is the forth and final book in the Lunar Chronicles series by Melissa Meyer that will feature Snow White.

 

Melissa Meyer is also releasing the first book in a new series featuring the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland entitled Heartless, which is set for a Fall 2015 release, but no exact date has been released.

 

The final book I am anticipating is the forth and final book in the “All The Wrong Questions” series by Lemony Snicket. No actual release date has been set yet, but I would venture a guess of it coming out around the end of September just like the first three stories in the series.

 

I can already tell this is going to be a great year for all the bookworms out there!

 

Love always,

Lauren

 

December 31, 2014

Hello world!

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I’ve been wanting to start my own blog for quite a while now, and I finally decided it was time to set up a place to call my own.

This small slice of the Internet is dedicated to literature and those who love it. A place to review books, discuss writing, and share a collective appreciation for the written word, as well as various other creative outlets, like photography and music.

So welcome, Literature Lovers!

 

Love always,

Lauren